Google Books PDF Death Match 4: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

It’s time to get real.

Previously I’ve used Success: A Novel (catch up here) as my Google Books test PDF. Most mainstream devices can now do that. So it’s time to up the ante to the full Monty of what I need a device to do.

I’ve already tried this twice:

Samsung Galaxy S III Test
Second Samsung Galaxy S III Test

I wanted to use the same PDF but problems erupted. I had to use a different issue of The American Magazine. The one in those first two tests was 203MBs. The one in these tests is a whopping 290MBs. How’s that for going nuclear?

If you want to play at home:
Google Books: The American Magazine, Volume 89
Google Docs: American Magazine (for those outside the U.S.)

I will repeat this introduction on all four posts in this series since I doubt people will read all of them.

Now onto the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.

My overall impression of the Note 8.0 is here: Nano-Fondle: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

This is turning into a battle between Android and iOS. With Android winning. So far. Can it do it again?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has a quad-core Exynos 4412 CPU running at 1.6GHz. AnTuTu has it at 17,708. That explains the Wow! I experienced in my fondle post. It might also bode well for those interested in the iPad Mini clone Chuwi V88, if a quad-core Rockchip CPU can reasonably be compared to an Exynos.

Let’s get to it. As usual, ignore the “grit” in the photos. That’s a result of the camera sensor interfering with the screen’s grid. I didn’t apply any filters to the photos to get rid of it.

I’m logged into my Google Books account to view the file under Recently Viewed, which I tap to select:


Selected and tapped on again:


And opened in Chrome:


Tapping on that PDF with the down arrow will download the PDF:


I will cut to the chase. While I was downloading, the Note was also updating some software! Anyway, my download began at 3:50 PM and …


… ended at 4:24PM. Yes, I hogged the Note all that time. For Science!


And hello! The Galaxy Note 8.0 could download a PDF the iPad Mini could not.

Tapping gave me this choice of bad or worse:


I already knew the Kindle app wouldn’t work, so it was again time to submit myself to the torment of Polaris Office.

This page means nothing but those streaks underneath it are trouble ahead:


Typical for Polaris Office with Google Books PDFs:


But it got interesting here, with part of the magazine showing:


And here we are, with Polaris’ maddening habit of treating photos and illustrations as different than text — yet they’re all images in the PDF!


The page above is this one on the Nook HD+.


Testing pinch-zoom:


No lag as bad as the Nook HD+.



The above page is this one on the Nook HD+.





I discovered that if instead of scrolling I used those arrows stupidly placed near the top of the screen instead of the bottom, paging went quickly. Unlike on the Nook HD+.

So, here we are.

Two Android devices versus two iOS devices, and Android — even with the crap display of Polaris Office — wins. Android devices could download the file and at least try to display it. The iPad Mini could not download the file at all. The iPad 4 claimed to have downloaded it but couldn’t display it in iBooks.

This is not good for Apple.

It also makes me wonder what else Android can do at the limits that iOS can’t.

So when it comes to reading massive Google Books PDFs, it seems there’s just no other choice than Android. The iPad Mini is worthless. And if the iPad 4 actually can download the file, maybe it can be opened in special third-party PDF software. But even so, the iPad 4 is big and heavy.

Frankly, all of this surprised me. I didn’t think I’d have the problems that I experienced with both iPads. All of this goes against the grain of the iPad’s image.

And that is why I test.

The Google Books PDF Death Match series of posts:

– Part One: Barnes & Noble Nook HD+
– Part Two: iPad Mini
– Part Three: iPad 4 with Retina Display
– Part Four: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
– Epilogue: Google Books PDF Death Match: Aftermath



Filed under Android, Google Books PDFs

6 responses to “Google Books PDF Death Match 4: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

  1. Brandon

    Using your test PDF “The American Magazine” it loads perfectly in GoodReader on an iPad Mini.

    Check your twitter… I posted an image.

    The problem is not that you’re testing and trying to find a device that fits your needs… it’s that you’re using stock software and basing your decisions on that software. In most cases what’s on the device from the manufacturer is a starting point only and for all intents and purposes is garbage.

    • mikecane

      How can it load on an iPad Mini when the damn iPad Mini couldn’t download it *twice*?

      EDIT to add:

      PS: And now I’m pissed. I ask people on Twitter to do these tests. No one wants to spend the damn ten minutes. I bust my ass going to stores and THEN people do them, to prove me wrong! FFS!

      • Brandon

        I followed the links to the PDF using GoodReader’s built in web browser. It took a few minutes for me to download it.

        Using a little bit of “I would normally do it this way” I also downloaded it to my Mac and transferred the file to GoodReader using iTunes. Frankly that method is more reliable.

        Note: The download time was the same on the Mac and the iPad – slow either way. Could be my network connection or Google throttling downloads.

        As for scrolling speed: Page loads were pretty quick. I’ll post a video for you soon.

  2. Hey! I did the test! Calm down. I didn’t bother with the Galaxy Note 8 since you already went there. I did bother with the iPad 4th Ed.

    Findings: once downloaded, the PDF was navigable in Safari, GoodReader, and PDF Expert. The pages do not resolve immediately, but I expect this because of the scans. It took approximately 60 seconds for Safari to send the PDF over to PDF expert. Once in PDF Expert pages turn fairly smoothly. I’ve found that PDF Expert tends to have slightly better throughput than GoodReader, in general. I never open PDFs in iBooks because iBooks is generally useless for PDFs. At least it is for me. I don’t use apps where I can’t highlight and annotate.

    Since @Brandon proved that the iPad Mini can handle the file in GoodReader, and because it’s late, I’ll bow out on the iPad Mini test too.

    I’ll stay tuned for much swearing tomorrow.

    BTW – I’m loving the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Not quite as much as my iPad 4th Ed., but maybe neck and neck with my iPad mini. And of course I now have two more Android tablets to play with now that My Nook HD and HD+ have been set free in the Google Play Store… I keep going back to the iPad 4th gen at beginning and end of the day, though.

    • mikecane

      You have too many tablets!

      I never heard of PDF Expert, so that’s helpful. I’m also going to quote this comment in a follow-up post later today.

      • jeankaplansky

        too many tablets… Ya think? Call it an occupational hazard. And yes. go ahead and quote me.

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